Almon, John


Almon, John

▪ British journalist
born Dec. 17, 1737, Liverpool
died Dec. 12, 1805, Boxmoor, Hertfordshire, Eng.

      parliamentary reporter and political writer, who took part in the struggle between press and Parliament for the right to publish reports of debates.

      A friend of the political reformer John Wilkes (Wilkes, John), he became known in the early 1760s as a Whig pamphleteer and as a bookseller from whose London shop political publications were disseminated. His parliamentary reports, published in the London Evening Post, precipitated a crisis between printers and Parliament in 1771; others followed the example of the Post. Wilkes used his privileged position as alderman of the City of London to prevent the arrest of printers and put an end to Parliament's power to punish journalists who reported its debates. Almon's article in the Post (1773) accusing John Montagu, 4th earl of Sandwich, of selling an office of trust cost the Post's printer a £2,000 fine. Almon himself was once imprisoned for libel and once forced to flee the country. In 1774 he began The Parliamentary Register, a monthly record of proceedings (continued until 1813). His printed attacks on William Pitt (Pitt, William, The Younger) in the 1780s finally brought his imprisonment for 14 months (1792–93), and he was forced to live the rest of his life on bail.

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